Sith Time’s the Charm

Episode IIIIn the run-up to the final installment in the Star Wars canon, the franchise characters have recently been seen hocking everything from breakfast cereal to cell phones. It’s the customary level of endorsement pervasiveness that makes it hard to ignore this long-awaited but not necessarily highly anticipated final chapter. All of which conspired to convince me to set aside my surprising indifference and sit down to watch the two trailers available over at this afternoon. While I’m enthusiastic about seeing Wookies and the return of Darth Vader proper, overall it’s fair to say that I’m not particularly optimistic about “Episode III” at all.

In my ad hoc review of “Episode II,” written way back in May 2002 and almost immediately after rushing out to see the movie, I wrote:

“…Even after two blown opportunities, people are still willing to believe that [Lucas will] pull it off. I’m one of them.”

Something happened in the intervening three years, and I longer feel so charitable. Given a bit more hindsight, the first two installments seem worse than ever, true examples of bloated Hollywood disasters. What makes me more upset than anything is thinking about how thoroughly Lucas blew it. Given money, freedom and immense fan credulity, he came up with two thorough embarrassments. Really, the only question on my mind — and on the minds of everyone I know — is: “How much is ‘Episode III’ going to completely and unequivocally suck?” I’ll be more than happy if it turns out to not suck very much at all, but neither am I willing to take part in trying to make its opening weekend a blockbuster financial success this time. I’ll wait.



  1. I really don’t want to care about this movie, but it’s starting to look like I have no choice. For the most part, I don’t care either way about Star Wars, but I’ve started to hate it simply because my father finds it hillarious to apply quotes from the various installments. On the other hand, I’ve only seen positive reviews on it — is there a chance that it may, indeed, not be an absolute disaster? I’m hoping so, because I’m going (being forced) to see it whether it’s any good or not. Let us pray, my children…

  2. I think there are a lot of people who will be seeing it just to finish off the series. I had to drag myself to the third Matrix film just to get some closure.

    It’ll have eyecandy, anyway. That’s less and less reason in and of itself for me to go see a film, but the franchise has enough gravity from childhood memories that I’ll get pulled in anyway.

  3. Narayan: I kind of feel that way, too, and maybe this is another part of the reason I’m so down on this final episode. It’s frustrating to have bought into this Star Wars nonsense and to have been disappointed pretty much with every outing since “Emipire Strikes Back.” Even moreso to remain invested long after I can rationally expect the product to be any good.

    Fazal: I’m waiting to see this blurb in a newspaper ad for “Episode III”: “If you loved ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ you’ll love ‘Episode III.'”

  4. The first bad sign for Episode III is that Lucas ruined the parallel structure of the titles. For example, Eps. I & IV were titled very simplistically: article, adjective, noun; “The Phantom Menace;” “A New Hope.” The titles of Eps. II & V were slightly more grammatically complex: gerundive noun modified by genitive noun with definite article; “Attack of the Clones;” “Return of the Jedi.” The title of Episode VI completes this progression well: “The Empire Strikes Back” is a complete clause with a nominative noun and an intransitive phrasal verb. Yet Lucas chose to stick with the middle structure for the title of Ep. III, “Revenge of the Sith.” Obviously, the title should have been “The Sith [Do Something].” It’s even worse that the working title for Episode V was “Revenge of the Jedi.” What lazy self-plagiarism!

    Grammar nerd out.

  5. Originially, I was very pessimistic about Episode III. However, the reviews seems to all say that it is clearly the best of the 3 prequels, and the NY Times review went as far as to say it may be better than Episode IV was (saying it’s the best one Lucas has directed). I’ll still go in with lower than average expectations, but I have to admit some excitement now.

  6. Much like everyone else, I want some closure. With regret (or maybe not), I’ll forever banish episodes I and II from my memory as childish eye-candy but I’m hoping that a lot of death and evil abound in this last third one will suffice.

  7. I have pretty low expectations. I think the technology of special effects has taken the place of storey telling.

  8. Yeah, the analog is “Return of the Jedi” and “Revenge of the Sith”. Seems to mirror pretty well. Now, of course, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Attack of the Clones” are both at least equally clunky titles.

    I was very hopeful about the third installment until I saw a clip with a Wookie swinging and doing the Tarzan yell. Oh. My. God. I hope that isn’t emblematic of the idiotic/cute tripe that Lucas has crammed into the last THREE Star Wars movies (remember the Ewoks?).

    FWIW, I like AotC better than RotJ, so hopefully this final nail in SW’s grave will just end it on a high note (or low note, dramatically).

  9. I might like that dramatic low note ending. In fact, I think that’s really what I’m hoping for out of this installment. I just don’t think it will be right if it isn’t a dark, gloomy ending. Here’s to hoping. 🙂

  10. So, lemme get this straight. Lucas has made 2 movies, targeted DIRECTLY at kids aged 7-14 and YOU are PISSED because it wasn’t the movie you wanted it to be? Are you 7-14 years old?

  11. There were great moments, and yes, regrettable horrid moments in “Sith” (thankfully very few moments of C3P0 and Jar-Jar Binks).

    It’s astonishing to me how bad George botched the Vader “Nooooooooooooooooooo” scene (!!!)

    All in all it wasn’t terrible, thank gawd.

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